China is not giving up on nasal or throat testing, but the country has adopted a new method for detecting the coronavirus: anal swabs.
Anal testing is being used so far only on select groups, mainly high-risk cases and people in quarantine. Some people who have been subjected to anal testing include passengers arriving in Beijing and a group of more than 1,000 schoolchildren and teachers who were thought to have been exposed to the virus, Forbes reported.
China has expanded its use of anal swabs to screen for Covid-19, with anyone flying to Beijing now vulnerable to testing despite growing protests from foreign governments.
A staff member from a Beijing epidemic control department told Chinese state media that all international arrivals to the capital could be ordered to pass testing by health officials, although they are not mandatory for everyone.
Chinese Officials are fixated on rooting out all vestiges of the virus. In order to keep the virus from spreading, China has been imposing stricter requirements on international travelers, with people arriving in China needing to have multiple negative test results and quarantine for at least 14 days in a designated hotel upon arrival.
The United States, Japan, South Korea and Germany have all raised concerns about the tests, although China has denied claims that they are mandatory for U.S. diplomats.
The use of anal swabs is limited because it’s invasive and inconvenient. If a stool sample cannot be obtained, a saline-soaked cotton swab about 1-2 inches long is inserted into the anus, with the sample tested for active traces of the virus.
— Mothership.sg (@MothershipSG) January 27, 2021
‘Chinese health experts claim the anal swab is much more accurate than a nasal cavity or cheek swab and can avoid ‘false negatives’ which has been a trend with the more common tests. Chinese officials have recently identified the anal swab as the #2 (no pun intended) most prominent COVID test in the country. “Chinese citizens are clenching up at an invasive new form of COVID-19 testing in the country: anal swabs,” one international report noted.
However, Yang Zhanqiu, a pathology expert at Wuhan University, told China’s Global Times that nose and throat swabs are the most efficient tests for Covid-19. “There have been cases concerning the coronavirus testing positive in a patient’s excrement, but no evidence has suggested it had been transmitted through one’s digestive system,” Yang said.